The gambling regulator of the Netherlands, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has announced that it will be ending its temporary leniency towards operators who offer online bingo this week.
From May this year, the regulator has officially taken a relaxed view towards online bingo games that are offered without a licence. During the lockdown that was imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the KSA has taken a tolerant approach towards these games, on the grounds that they were not being run for profit or exploitation.
Normally any individual or organisation running land-based bingo games would need a gaming licence, and all online gaming is prohibited until the Remote Gaming Act takes full effect in 2021. But the KSA had said that it would show greater leniency during the pandemic, as the games enabled people to socialise. In a statement at the time, they outlined their reasoning:
“The KSA understands that in these times there are initiatives to provide a fun pastime for people, and make them feel as if they are out of isolation without having to leave their own home”.
However, in a fresh statement issued today, the regulator announced that it would resume enforcing regulations from 1 July. In justification for the change, it cited lockdown easing. From that date, isolation has been eased throughout the nation. In addition, the KSA says that it has seen a significant increase in online bingo games in recent weeks, and has already had to intervene in several cases, where it was found that bingo games were being offered for commercial motives.
The Netherlands is not the only European jurisdiction to have seen an increase in online bingo games. The regulator in Denmark, Spillemyndigeden has also issued warnings to a number of companies, also taking steps to restrict unlicensed bingo games. And in Norway, the national regulator, Lotteri-og stiftelsestilsynet said in March that the leniency towards land-based bingo halls offering online games was only temporary.